Year-Round NaNoWriMo with Beeminder and Draft

Thursday, October 31, 2013
By dreeves

write with draft

Tomorrow is the beginning of November, which kicks off National Novel Writing Month. Last year we put together some tools for NaNoWriMo and blogged about it:

Beemind Your NaNoWriMo Progress

This year we have some new tools to support beeminding writers. The biggie that we’re really excited about is Integration with Draft. Mostly because we are really excited about Draft and how well it is done! It’s a pretty brilliant editor for writers that makes it much nicer to selectively accept edits on your drafts, among other things.

NaNoWriMo is all about churning out 50,000 words, with little thought to editing. With our Draft integration the focus is on editing: The commitment is not just to add words but to hone your document. The metric we use for that is words added plus words deleted. Beeminding wordcount incentivizes you to keep braindumping text into your document without necessarily ever getting closer to a finished product. We’ve seen this happen!

For the serious NaNoWriMo nerds

“Beeminding wordcount incentivizes you to keep braindumping text”

Of course, NaNoWriMo is about exactly that, braindumping as much text as possible into your document. So we think of our Draft integration as the solution to your prosaic motivation problems the other eleven months of the year. Also, we mind everything across all of your Drafts — so probably not what you want for minding progress on a specific document. If you do want to use Draft for your NaNoWriMo goal this year, you can dust off last year’s wordcount integration. Give us the public url to your Draft document and we will plot the wordcount for you. You can find the public url by copying the share link. Then fire up beeminder.com/nanowrimo and start a Public URL goal. Before you submit, though, you need to add “.txt” after the document ID, and before the “?token=” portion of the URL (to give us the plain text version). So if your url looked like:

"draftin.com/documents/123456?token=..."

You’d change it like so:

"draftin.com/documents/123456.txt?token=...."

If you’re editing your novel in another public place, like in a Google doc, or an Etherpad, or if you save your document in your Dropbox and can find a plain text public URL to that then those will work as well. It’s just got to be a publicly accessible URL, and it has to be plain text (if we try to do a wordcount on a Word doc or a PDF or something, it will come out all wrong). Note that “publicly accessible” doesn’t have to mean “public”. Google docs, for example, will give you an essentially private link for sharing with “anyone with this URL”.

For the super nerds

Thanks to our own Andy Brett, we have a fully open source app for beeminding raw total wordcount of any set of publicly accessible URLs. It’s both useful for Nanowrimo and a great example app for beeminding any crazy thing you can imagine using our API. We’re calling it URLminder.

That’s all for now! We’re off to go trick-or-treating!

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  • Christopher Chen

    “we mind everything across all of your Drafts” — is this still the case, or is it possible to do more nuanced goals? (e.g. can I mind writing progress in a particular folder?)

  • http://beeminder.com Daniel Reeves

    That’s still the case but it might be easy to support particular folders (need to look at the API again). Does this only work for you if it’s restricted to one folder?

  • Christopher Chen

    I think so. The use case I’m picturing is “progress on blog posts” or “progress on fiction writing”, so a goal pointing to a single folder would be super helpful :)

  • Pliny Suetonious

    To paraphrase Alanis Morissette, isn’t ironic when you misspell a word that technically subsumes spelling as one of the activities that comprise it:

    “If you’re edting your novel in another public place…”

    Or maybe it’s just a coincidence.

  • http://beeminder.com Daniel Reeves

    So deliciously ironic that I was tempted to pretend it was intentional and leave it there. But, ok, fixed. Thank you! Want some Beeminder stickers? (send snail mail address to support@beeminder.com if so!)